Last week, amazon listed my book The Fiction Class on its web site. There’s no picture yet and the book is not actually on sale (though you can preorder it), but still. It’s a watershed moment. There am I, right on top of Walter Breen who wrote a book about U.S. coins. Or so far I’m on top of him.
As soon as I was listed, my husband called to inform me that I was ranked 174,236 on the amazon list. I thought that was pretty good, given that it was the first day, but I told him that I really didn’t want to start worrying about the ranks. I’m way too anxious to start thinking about things like that, I have a ton of other work to do and I can’t do it if I’m sitting here worrying about my ranking on amazon.com.
“This way madness lies,” I said.
“You’re absolutely right,” my husband replied.
One hour later he called to inform me that I had “plummeted” to 196,452.
For those who wonder, the amazon rankings show where your book is compared to all the other books amazon is selling, but it ranks them on an hour by hour basis depending on how many books you’ve sold that hour. Which, if I am understanding it right, means that if you sold 1,000 books in one hour and none the next, your ranking would go down. (J.K. Rowling is at the top of the list, as you might imagine, and is likely to stay there for a long time.) And yes, I do wonder if I placed an order for 10,000 of my books, would that push me to the top of the best seller list. And could I then cancel the order?
I am trying really hard to be zen about this. I truly am so delighted to have a book on its way to publication that I cannot get too stressed about my rank. But it’s hard. On some level I’m still back in elementary school, waiting to be chosen for the volleyball team, and I’m not even sure that that’s relevant.
So I have promised myself that I will only check amazon five times a day. And that I will not be too excited that my rank is now, as my husband says, “hovering” around 30,000. And I will keep in mind that there will be bad reviews and that some people will hate my book and some people won’t buy it, and it’s all fine (as long as those people aren’t my editor and agent).